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Friday, November 25, 2011

Procrastination - a post from early in the month

This was up on Insideadog earlier this month. I put in a link and so many people have checked out the one on this site which just said, "This is my new post" and put a link to it that I thought maybe I should put up the actual post here in case anyone else wants to read it.  It's the only one for which I got any comments at all, AFAIK, both from Goodreads friends. The comments thingie on IAD is confusing. To add a comment or even to see if there ARE  any comments, you have to click the heading. And I don't think there are instructions, or anyway, not where I can see them.
Which is a lot of waffle, but for those of you who didn't follow the link or who have just discovered this blog - enjoy!

When thinking about this post, I went on-line to look up the word “procrastination”, which means, “putting it off”.
 Here’s what I found on
1540s, from L. procrastinationem "a putting off," noun of action from procrastinare "put off till tomorrow," from pro- "forward" + crastinus "belonging to tomorrow," from cras "tomorrow," of unknown origin.

Notice the date? 1540s? So even back then, it seems, people were putting off doing things. I’m sure they were doing it before, but in the 1540s, someone must have said, “I’ll just go watch the execution of the King’s wife before I finish making dinner, cleaning the house, writing my poem… hey, there should be a word to describe that.”
 This is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the idea being that you write 50,000 words in a month and if you break it up nicely you can get it done, even if you have a day job. I believe people have met the challenge and some have actually sold their writing month books.
   I don’t think I could do it, but I can totally relate to the idea that if you have a deadline you’ll somehow meet it. That’s one reason why I love writing non-fiction. It’s commissioned, you have a deadline and you can break up the work. If you can’t actually write something just now, you can do some research.
 Right now, I’m putting off washing last night’s dishes (I made chocolate truffles for my students and the sink is a mess) because, knowing how I do put off things, I’ve set myself the challenge of writing a post for Insideadog every day this month.
 Having a deadline helps.  Even if you only get a draft done, you have the pleasure of seeing the whole thing in front of you. Who cares if it’s a mess? You can fix it later.
 There are other ways. I have to take public transport to work each day.  I take along a notepad and scribble away. While I had time off work to write Crime Time, I took my laptop to the local café, where I could have another pot of tea without having to get up. That way I had no excuse for not writing.
 Mind you, I was putting off cleaning the house and doing the wash…


Becs said...

I have the badge, jumper and rule book of "How to Succeed In Procrastination". If only I could make a living out of that! I do carry a pad of paper and pen with me everywhere, but I type more than handwrite. I'm starting to get back on the bandwagon, but it's a long, slow process. Great post, I think the tips you suggested are mandatory for budding writers!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this, Becs! :-) And for what it's worth, I type more than hand write too, but carrying that notepad and pen gives you just that little bit extra time to write.

And there are ways you can make procrastination work for you. For example, use the time you're not writing to read and research. That way, you haven't wasted time. Play the music to get you in the mood. Take your laptop, if you have one, to your favourite place for tea and muffins. It will probably have wi-fi, so you can write and research at the same time.

If all else fails, use the procrastination time to do housework! At least your house will be clean. ;-)